Saturday, July 26, 2014

High School Hysteria

My older son will be starting 9th grade in about a month…which in itself is shocking enough to his mother. (Who--despite all obstacles--still valiantly toils to remain firmly in her Happy Place known as…Denial…) Yes, even though he towers above me, outweighs me by 20 pounds, shaves, and speaks in such a deep voice that if I’m not right next to him I can’t immediately tell if it’s Derek or Husband talking…it still somehow snuck up on me that my oldest “baby” is preparing to launch into the uncharted Land of High School.

Yeah, yeah, I know I should have seen it coming; after all, one of the first things I took care of right after we moved was to register both boys in the local school system. After that was accomplished, I contacted the individual schools to set up meetings with the Guidance Counselors, so I could share information about my favorite students—such as their report cards, recommendations from their previous teachers about what classes they should take next year, and other “official stuff” like that. Oh, and with the brave new worlds of Middle and High School awaiting them, both Derek and Riley would need to choose some elective courses to round out their required academic load.

So Derek and I scheduled a tour with Mr. Thomas, and arrived ready to….storm the halls of academia…or something. The first thing that struck both of us was the sheer, overwhelming size of the place. Two floors--fine, that seems reasonable. But then we stepped outside, exiting what I had believed to be the entirety of the school…to move on to the next brick structure. I’m sorry, Building A…and Building B? “Oh, yes,” Mr. Thomas cheerfully assured me, “and Cand D!”

What the WHAT? Derek caught my eye and shook his head, both of us having similar unspoken thoughts, “Good luck finding your classrooms, dude!” Mr. Thomas continued, unaware of our consternation, “It’s really laid out sort of like the campus for a junior college.” Well, that’s reassuring…unless you’re 14, and new at all of this, and starting off, shall we say, “clueless”. (Eh, sink or swim, right? He’ll figure it out…maybe they have Prefects to point First Years in the right direction…)

But soon we (okay, at least “I”) got caught up in examining all of the cool spaces—like the Science hallway, with cartoon murals painted on the walls, depicting delightfully-geeky puns relating to chemistry and environmental biology and whatnot. Or the professional-looking Theater department, complete with a tool-stocked workroom for building sets. And the huge, appropriately messy and creative Art studio. And two—count ‘em, TWO gymnasiums, one boasting a rock-climbing wall. Which leads me to my next point: when Derek is a Sophomore, he will be permitted to take a PE class called “Healthful Living”, in which, according to the description on the website, they will do the following: hiking and camping, rock climbing, canoeing, sea kayaking, road biking, mountain biking, archery, frisbee golf and other outdoor games. Are. You. KIDDING. Me? How freakin’ awesome does that sound? Another option is a Sports Medicine/Athletic Training course. Or there’s always Journalism, so he can write for the school newspaper.

By the end of this, I could barely contain my glee. My inner Super-Nerd was doing a happy dance, excited for all of the possibilities available for my son’s education. (Or, you know, wishing I could partake of the learning opportunities myself. Whatever…) After we said our goodbyes to Mr. Thomas, promising to study the Course Catalog, make our selections, and get the paperwork returned as soon as possible, I turned to Derek and uttered one little sentence guaranteed to strike abject dread into the heart of every teenager on the planet, “Buddy, that sounds so great…can I come to class with you?”

Derek turned toward me, mouth hanging open (a hilarious mixture of terror, horror, and disgust clearly displayed in his expression) and blurted, “Mom! (a pause to gather his thoughts) “It’s not... ‘Take Your Parent to School Day’ (another moment for emphasis, in case I was unclear about the strength of his feelings on the subject)…like, E-V-E-R!” Well, rats! Fine, go have all the fun yourself. But if they ever need chaperones for any of these field trips, just wait and see how fast I fill out that volunteer form, baby!

(Silly me, I almost forgot to mention—what he ended up choosing was Principles of Biomedical Sciences, which is “designed for students to investigate the human body systems and various health conditions. They determine factors that lead to the death of a fictional person and investigate lifestyle choices.” One can only hope he’ll need consultation on his homework…so I can play, too…)

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